Last Sunday, we hosted the MN Adult and Teen Challenge Choir. During the worship service, close to 40 students from the Rochester Center shared inspirational songs and personal stories of their recovery from addiction through the power and forgiveness of God.
I love hosting MN Adult and Teen Challenge at Saint Luke’s. It’s not easy to hear of the hurt each one of the students have brought to themselves and others. And yet, it is so encouraging to hear how Jesus is redeeming the broken lives and healing hurting hearts. Their presentation was also a valuable reminder to me of these four biblical truths about sin:
Sin is Deceptive
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Sin is scoffed at by many. It’s not a big deal they say. But sin always appears smaller than it is. As God reminded Cain in Genesis 4, “Sin is crouching at the door.” Like a predator stalking its prey, sin’s nature is to look initially more harmless than it actually is. And then when it has deceived, sin suddenly attacks and conquers. Don’t be tricked by the initially innocuous or even appealing appearance of sin. Sin only leads to bitterness, destruction, and death.
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22).
A symptom of sin is the false sense of control it gives to its victims. They think they are still free; they can stop the sin at any time. On student shared how he lived a double life as a high-functioning addict. He thought he could stop at any time but was unable to free himself as he slide down in life to rock bottom. The power of sin grows quickly and those enslaved to sin will find that they soon, “cannot sleep unless they have done wrong” (Proverbs 4:16a). If you think you are in control of your sin, very likely you are already devoted to it. True freedom is only found in Christ.
“Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life” (Proverbs 4:13).
The Bible is full of exhortation for us to turn away from sin and to turn to Christ. In the Scriptures we can learn the horrendous consequences of sin as it devastates families, friendships, and fellowship with God. We hear similar warnings from the students at MN Adult and Teen Challenge. Friends, listen! The wise learn not by experience but by heeding the wisdom God has given us.
Grace Knows No Bounds
“[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
In the gospels we see the grace of Jesus is only withheld from one group of people. Thieves, prostitutes, criminals, lepers, and gentiles all find forgiveness in Jesus. Who does not find grace? The graceless are those who do not believe they need God’s grace. It is those who think they are healthy who in reality do not find grace. Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31–32). Without Jesus we are all addicts to sin. Don’t miss the grace of Jesus by believing that you are not included in the all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Let us continue to passionately pray for, generously support, and wisely learn from MN Adult and Teen Challenge.
But by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10),